U.S. technology to benefit India's push for clean energy

BANGALORE, INDIA - Indian energy companies are likely to benefit by importing clean energy technologies and equipment from the U.S., according to David Bohigian, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

The secretary of commerce, along with representatives from 13 U.S. energy companies, was recently on a trade mission to India. With no restrictions on procuring technologies and equipment related to the generation of clean energy such as hydroelectric, solar and wind power, Indian firms will have access to the expertise and know-how needed to help the nation meet its increasing energy demands through renewable resources.

Firms that participated in the trade mission include GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, Rockwell Automation Incorporated, 3TIER, Synergics Energy Services LLC and Vista International Incorporated. Of the multibillion-dollar fund available to India from the World Bank, more than $2 billion is expected to be utilized to implement clean energy solutions from the U.S. in India.

As a result of the trade mission, the Sikkim government has entered into an agreement with Synergics Energy to generate hydroelectric power. The project is set to commence in the next 12 to 18 months.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is upbeat about investing in India's renewable energy sector because of the tremendous growth prospects it offers. The Manila-based financial institution has entered into a joint venture with National Thermal Power Corporation, GE Energy Financial Services, Kyushu Electric Power Company, and Brookfield Renewable Power Incorporated to generate about 500 megawatts (MW) of power from renewable sources over the next three years. The focus of this group will be primarily in wind and hydroelectric power.

ADB recently granted a loan of $113 million to Gujarat Energy Corporation Private Limited to set up a 100.8-MW windfarm in Samana, Gujarat, and an 82.4-MW windfarm in Saundatti, Karnataka. India has an installed wind-energy generation capacity of 4 gigawatts and ranks fourth globally in this segment.

With India's government investing to augment its renewable energy production, ADB sees a huge potential in this market.

The government is set to launch its "National Solar Mission" program as promised in the National Action Plan on Climate Change before the G8 summit this year. The mission under the direct authority of the Prime Minister's Office aims to increase solar power's contribution in the total energy mix.

In the wake of rising crude prices, the mission also recognizes the need to promote other renewable energy sources, such as wind, nuclear and biomass. To make solar installations appealing, the government plans to give tax breaks, introduce new tariff structures and reduce the cost of photovoltaic cells, thereby reducing the initial capital cost.

The aim of the program is to have an installed capacity of 10,000 MW by 2020, which means a build up of 1,000 MW every year from 2008. The government will promote large-scale solar energy generation by setting up "solar valleys," special zones that will bring together players from industry and research.


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